OMW first reported weeks ago that Cleveland's WJW/8 "FOX 8" - and eight of FOX's other smaller market owned-and-operated stations - were being sold to Oak Hill Capital Partners.
The sale is now official. (Well, minus one of the stations, which we'll explain later.)
OMW hears that this News Corporation press release was put up this morning, on walls all over the local station's South Marginal Road headquarters:
News Corporation Announces Sale of Eight Television Stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners
NEW YORK, NY, December 22, 2007 – News Corporation announced today that it will sell eight of its owned-and-operated FOX network affiliated television stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners for approximately $1.1 billion in cash.
The stations include:
* WJW in Cleveland, OH
* KDVR in Denver, CO
* KTVI in St. Louis, MO
* WDAF in Kansas City, MO
* WITI in Milwaukee, WI
* KSTU in Salt Lake City, UT
* WBRC in Birmingham, AL
* WGHP in Greensboro, NC
The sale is subject to regulatory and other customary conditions and is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2008.
And here are some choice quotes from the Local TV people, courtesy of their press release, which we found on the FOX Business website:
J. Taylor Crandall, a Managing Partner of Oak Hill Capital Partners, said, "We are very pleased to add this outstanding portfolio of FOX affiliated television stations to the Oak Hill portfolio. These stations, like our existing Local TV television stations, have a strong commitment to providing quality news and serving the local community."
Bobby Lawrence, CEO of Local TV, said, "These are heritage stations in great markets. Their management teams and operations are a perfect fit with Local TV. The stations have an outstanding track record and we look forward to helping them continue their success."
FOX still retains its largest market owned-and-operated stations, many in a two-station duopoly, and a handful of other owned stations.
And it also still hangs onto one of the stations on the originally announced list.
The Chicago Tribune reports today that FOX O&O WHBQ/13 in Memphis TN will not be going to Oak Hill Capital Partners, for regulatory concerns.
Oak Hill/Local TV already owns the Memphis market's CBS affiliate, WREG. Current FCC rules don't allow such a duopoly with both stations affiliated with one of the "Big Four" networks. We'll assume FOX will deal off WHBQ separately.
At least we didn't have to wait months and months for this news to become official, like we did in a certain swap of radio stations between Canton and Michigan...